My New Years Eve celebrations came to an end at 8.03 pm last night when I fell asleep. I managed only two glasses of Chateau Haut Marbuzet, which I bought after some recommendations – it was OK. But it was the jet lag that killed me. 8pm was 4am in Bali, which is where I had just travelled back from. I woke up this morning at 7am, checked Twitter straight away, as you do, to see what I had missed; very little it seemed. I then loaded up my BBC News app, putting it to one side whilst I spoke to my girlfriend in bed for a while. Fifteen minutes or so later I went back to the BBC app, and at the very top of the page was an article about another terrorist attack, this time in Istanbul, which killed 40 people. And so, 2017 started very much the same way 2016 ended.
I laugh a little when I see people write on Twitter how bad 2016 has been. How it’s been the ‘worst year possible’. Lol. Wind back 100 years and we were in the middle of World War 1. The Battle of the Somme happened during 1916 where over 400,000 British soldiers alone died. Perspective is something we millennials don’t seem to have in abundance.
But in 1916 they didn’t have Twitter. No Facebook. No online media sites constantly updating and making us aware of almost any news story we wish to hear about. Not even Tinder. Think of how many suicides there would’ve been if these young men were aware of what was ahead of them? We are fortunate to know the present so well that we can make a good guess of the future. But when the present seems perpetually frightening and disappointing, it’s easy to see the future holding the very same prospects. This is what 2016 looked like for me.
Last year, (2016!) I learnt so much. Away from golf, I am quite a fervent news reader and I am one of those people who likes to be in the know. Not because I want to impress anyone, just because I don’t like not knowing what’s happening. In 2015 I began looking at moving to London. So I started browsing Rightmove every day, hoping to see a flat that I both liked the look of, and one that was under 1 million pounds. The day never came. And so me being me, I had to know why everything was so expensive. It seemed not to make any sense. From September 2015, to now, nearly all of my interest has been in learning about the economy. I have followed many people on Twitter, YouTube, and have watched endless hours of Bloomberg and CNBC, all in the attempt to know more. And boy do I know a lot more than I did 18 months ago, but heck am I depressed about it.
So frightened I got, that at one point I invested in gold. This isn’t historically a bad investment I know, but I only did it out of fear for our immediate economic future. Bearish and cynical I became about all things economical and political. And so it is I have become trapped in this cycle of simply having to learn more so I can ‘protect’ myself against the future, and subsequently have myself become more cynical and generally low. I’ve been aware of this pattern developing for some time, but haven’t been too concerned about it. Mostly because I knew I’d reach a tipping point down the line where I would simply be able to switch to something else, like how a chameleon changes its colours. I think I’ve reached this point. Plus, in everything I’ve ever done regarding the direct use of my brain, I’ve always wanted to push myself beyond the point of discontentment, purely to see how I react to that. The idea of being depressed doesn’t scare me because I know during that process so much will be learnt. And I’m always confident in myself that I can come through anything that requires some thinking.
But I now need to stop thinking. My mind has become a pinball machine, unable to turn off from the world. I’ve become so attached to my news sources, to the point where I’m becoming biased and certain of the future, even when there are valid arguments otherwise. This is extremism.
So January 1st 2017 will be the day where I turn off. I’m seeing this as an experiment to see how my mood changes over the coming months, simply by knowing less of what’s happening in our wonderful world. Being alive in 2017 has to become about more than living inside other peoples realities via snapchat, Instagram or Twitter. We are as a collective so lucky to be living in these times, and the fact that social media, and other media types, can make me feel otherwise suggests I need to look the other way. My dad is happier than me even though he has bad knees and hips, and far fewer material things.
I will continue to blog however.
I’ve always refuted the idea that ignorance is bliss, I hope I can prove myself right over time, but for now I need some quiet time.
Happy New Year and let’s hope 2017 is better than 1917 was….